Long Weekend in Minnesota


Summer-time has me MIA from my blog many of days. We have been traveling, swimming, going to parks, visiting with family and enjoying this fleeting life with toddlers. 
Last week my guy was in Belgium for a work meeting, lucky dog!
The girls and I decided to head north to Minnesota to visit the Cottage aka Josh's Aunt, Uncle, cousin's and their home. 
This meant that I drove 8 hours by myself with twin toddlers. 
I started my day bright and early loading last minute items and drinking my Chai Tea Latte. 

We managed to only stop three times. 
Once for breakfast, a potty break and lunch. 
After lunch the Zabies watched Shrek and LOVED it! 
We turned them forward facing for the trip and I am so thankful that we did.
I could see their faces, give them snacks, and control to dvd player from the front so they didn't have to watch any one DVD over and over again because I couldn't reach to turn it off.
They could also see out of the window and loved seeing all of the wind mills along the way. 
Honestly, it was the best road trip. I could not have dreamed it would go better and I actually enjoyed it! 
The girls never cried, whined or complained! 
The road trip was so enjoyable that I look forward to many more girls trip with my duo!
We arrived to excited cousins just before supper time. 

Once we got to the cottage our days were filled with playing barefoot in the yard, swimming, napping, eating, riding four-wheelers, going on wagon rides, playing in the rain and eating lots of push-pops!
The adults spent their evenings chatting, reminiscing and playing cards! 
It was the best weekend!

Don't worry y'all, we went as fast as a snail!

Look at those babes!

Josh joined us on Friday and brought home these fresh Belgian Chocolates. 
I am not a huge fan of assorted candies but this box has been AMAZING!

Kensington and Quinn frequently ate their food and everyone else's too. 
I think they gained 5 pounds while we were gone! 
If you had food then they were your BFF. 

The Zabies loved spending time with their cousin Sydney. 

I have TONS of photos on my camera that will be making their debut on here soon. 
My computer may or may not be telling me that the memory is full! Oops!

Head On Over!


Happy Tuesday, Friends!
I'm guest posting over at A+ Life today about some of my must have items to survive life outside of the house with toddler twins...whew! That's a mouth full!
Head on over and check it out!
Don't forget to peruse Courtney's archives to see adorable photos of her newest addition + big sister!

Don't worry, we were parked in a parking lot getting ready to have a snack! 

Exclusively Pumping for Twins


I always knew I wanted to breastfeed my children and that desire only strengthened when I became pregnant. After learning I was expecting two little miracles, I started doing a lot of research on nursing and pumping for twins. The bond that is created when nursing your child was something I wanted but I also knew I would need help from my husband since there were two of them.

When the Zabies were born they were eight weeks early and stayed 17 days in the NICU. I had an extremely rare delivery and complications after delivery {read here and here} that caused vomiting for 9 days after the Zabies were born. I was fighting for my life and the last thing I could muscle up energy for was pumping milk for my babies. Luckily, I had a loving and selfless friend who knew how strong my desire was to breastfeed my babies and was also a Labor and Delivery nurse. On day 3 of postpartum she explained to me that she knew how important it was to me and she was going to hook up the pump and stimulate a let down for me. She did this every three hours and took the milk to the NICU for days until I had the energy to do it myself. I will forever be grateful to her for this.

Pumping has been a way of life since the Zabies came along. I pumped for days before I could ever put Kensington or Quinn to breast. Even then I was only allowed to nurse them once or twice a day in the very beginning; it was too exhausting for them, as preemies, to do so at every feeding. When I did nurse them it was imperative that I pump off the excess milk to establish and maintain my milk supply. I started out pumping every three hours around the clock.
 I remember having to wake up in the middle of the night, lonely and no baby(ies) in my home, to pump in a great effort to establish my supply.
 Every time I cried and thought it would be so much more rewarding if my babies were with me. 

After and 11 PM Pumping Session

Fast forward to when they came home. Suddenly I was thrown into the routine in it's entirety, alone. Josh had to go back to work and neither of our families where here to visit yet since we expected the Zabies to spend a little while longer in the NICU. Nursing the girls took 45 minutes per baby, not including burping, diapering and pumping the remaining milk they didn't drain from my breasts. It was exhausting to say the least. I did some research and reached out to my local Multiple Moms Mingle Group for support. I quickly found that many mothers of twins exclusively pump, bottle feeding their babies breast milk. I was determined to give my babies breast milk so exclusively pumping seemed like just the thing for me. 
I exclusively pumped through four consecutive months of, excruciatingly painful, mastitis, thrush, a second emergency surgery, the worst case of thrush my doctors had ever seen, colds and Coxsackie virus. Even though it was challenging and painful at times, I was determined! I successfully gave my twins pumped breastmilk for the first year of their lives and I couldn't more proud!

In the beginning there was a lot of trial and error. I bottle fed them each with warmed, pumped milk from the prior pumping session and then pumped afterwards for the next feeding. I went from spending an hour and a half to one hour on feeding sessions, including diaper changes, when I initially stopped nursing and started exclusively pumping. Since they were preemies, I always had to wake them to eat and never had anyone upset over who got to eat first until they were about three months old. Then I needed to feed them simultaneously and pump afterwards. Feeding them simultaneously reduced the time to forty-five minutes.  After becoming confident with this routine, I felt like I could decrease the time more by pumping while I simultaneously bottle fed them. I would warm their bottles, hook the pump up with a hands free bra and then put bottles in mouths. They usually took 15-20 minutes to finish a bottle and pumping took 30 minutes. That left 10 minutes where I could burp and change their diapers. I kept a diaper changing caddy within arm's reach during feedings so that the whole routine would be completed when I finished pumping. I usually finished the whole routine just in time to unhook from the pump. I pumped about 80 ounces of milk per day. Keeping a daily log of how much milk I pumped that day and how many ounces they ate to make sure production was keeping up with supply was imperative- thanks to my Hubby! I suppose we were both in the brewing business. If I needed extra production I added in an extra pump late at night before bed or in the middle of the night when Prolactin levels were highest. I pumped every time the Zabies had a bottle signaling my body to make more milk just as it would have done if I had been nursing which is the most important part of exclusively pumping.

Burping one baby while simultaneously feeding the other (and snapping a picture). 
What you can't see in this picture is I am hooked to the pump. 
A family pumping selfie. 

My dad taught the Zabies how to hold their own bottles at 6 months old and it was more helpful than I imagined it would be. 

I had a love/hate relationship with my pump and promised to use it for target practice when I was done with it but felt entirely too sentimental when the time came. I remember being so jealous of moms who were pumping for their babies when I was going through fertility treatments, so it was surprising how much I ended up loathing the pump towards the end.

I have a rare and unique breastfeeding story and it isn't nearly as beautiful as I'd like it to be but I wouldn't change one thing about it. My drops of milk in the beginning gave my 32 week babies strength to grow and thrive. They were never measured on a preemie chart and have always been average or above on growth charts. Seeing your children grow leaps and bounds on solely your breast milk is the most rewarding thing about breastfeeding and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
I made it to their 1st Birthday and I couldn't be more proud of that!

My advice to you, new mama, is to set a small attainable goal. Once you reach it, set another. Have a routine. Stay positive, surround yourself with supportive, like-minded people and never give-up on a bad day-- Stick it out to the next good one and if you still feel in your heart that you're done then you can end on a good note. You can do this! You are amazing and you are doing an amazing, selfless thing for your child which is awesome!!!

**I also experienced many problems with mastitis and thrush that I'll be posting about soon but if you have any questions before then feel free to email me!

My Pumping Schedule:
At birth:
Every three hours, around the clock, for a minimum of 30 minutes each time, sometimes 45 minutes.
2 months:
Every time the girls ate (every three hours), I pumped for 30 minutes minimum. We fed on demand at this point so we were going longer stretches at night.
4 months:
The Zabies slept from 10 pm to 5 am. I pumped every time the girls ate (every three hours) for 30 minutes each time. I, too, went from 10-5 without pumping.
6 months:
The Zabies went to bed at 7pm but ate every three hours during the day. I pumped every time they ate for 30 minutes and also pumped one last time before I went to bed at 9 or 10 pm. My next pump was at 7 am when the Zabies woke. They could hold their own bottles at this point. 
8 months:
The Zabies ate every four hours thru the day and went to bed at 7pm. I first transitioned to pumping every four hours and then by 9 months I also stopped pumping before I went to bed; I was then going 12 hours between pumping.
10 Months:
 I pumped at 7 am, 11 am, 3pm & 7 pm
11 months:
I pumped at 7 am, 11am & 7pm
11 ¾ months:
Pumped at 7 am & 7 pm
12 months:
Pumped at 7am

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday, friends! This week has zoomed by! 
Here are a few of my favorites from this week!

ONE: The girls have started drawing at the window. It is the sweetest thing!

TWO: The "I told you so" moment when the girls went under the gate after I told my guy that he put it too high. 

THREE: The announcement of the MacKenzie-Childs Barn Sale. I'm hoping to put in a wish list with a friend or two  OR even go back for the sale. We shall see. 

FOUR: These. Wellies for myself and the Zabies!

And they match! LOVE!!

FIVE: Who needs a milk shake when you can have a vanilla bean frap?

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!
 I can't wait to share my guys Father's Day gift on Monday- since he is a reader of my blog. 

Summer 2015 Bucket List


Summer is here in full force! 
We went from cool to hot in a matter of a few days. 
Although we have been getting a lot of rain the weather has still be decent enough to spend afternoons at the pool and mornings at the park. 
The girl's current age is probably my favorite so far. 
They have the cutest personalities, love to do everything I do and are full of enthusiasm!

Since the official 1st day of summer is just around the corner I decided to put together our summer bucket list.

 Summer 2015 Bucket List
  1. Annual Zabek Family Vacation
  2. Annual Franklin Family Vacation
  3. Biennial Zabek Family Reunion
  4. Spend 4th of July in Georgia
  5. Visit Dietzman's in Minnesota
  6. Meet up with Stacy for a day trip to Cincinnati
  7. Date my husband
  8. Friday night pizza at the pool
  9. Go back to CNY for a visit & Go to Brantley concert with Stacy
  10. Visit the St. Louis Zoo
  11. Go to the Kimmswick Strawberry Festival
  12. Visit Grant's Farm
  13. Visit the Gateway to the West
  14. Visit Purina Farms
  15. Visit as many St. Louis County Parks as possible and rank them according to favorites
  16. Swim Lessons for the girls
  17. Dance Classes for the girls
  18. Celebrate Phil and Susan's marriage in Breckenridge, CO. 
  19. Celebrate Kensington + Quinn on their birthday as a family of 4 
  20. Celebrate Kensington + Quinn turning TWO with family
  21. Have 2 Year old photos taken
  22. Meet our new niece upon her arrival
  23. Celebrate my 30th Birthday 
  24. Celebrate Josh's 10 year homecoming reunion 

I'm sure I will be adding to this list as the summer progresses.
We have so many fun things planned and can't wait to share it all with you. 

Of course, I can't make a post without adding some photos of adorable toddler twins in tutus!

8 Years


On this day 8 years ago this hunk gave me his number. 
He had been carrying it around on top of his head, inside of his hat. 
At the end of the night he took it out, handed it to me and asked me to call him. 
We talked on the phone until 4 am that night, went on a date the next night and have been going strong ever since. 
There is an old saying that "you just know" when you meet your soul mate. 
I have to agree. 
He is my soulmate, my lover, my encourager...my everything. 
Happy 8 years, Babe!
I love you to the moon & back!

Dining Table|| Restoration Hardware

Many moons ago when Josh and I lived in Georgia, we lived in our first home together. 
He bought our house months before we first met. 
It was a temporary house for him initially. 
The idea was to buy and sell (making a profit) when it was time for him to move on to another brewery in a different state. 
Long story short- Anheuser-Busch was bought out by InBev and we spent 6 years in our home there and still own it! 
In those 6 years we had many gatherings. 
I love to host parties and dinners, heck,  celebrations of all types!
It was at Thanksgiving dinner, the year before we moved to CNY, when we agreed that we would buy a new dining room table whenever we bought a new house whether it be in Georgia or another state. 
This particular dinner there were over 30 people and not nearly enough space for people to sit for dinner. Folks were on the deck (thankfully it was 65 degrees out), sitting on couches, at folding tables, at the kitchen table and the dining table. 

We agreed that we wanted something bigger so more people could sit together and enjoy one another. 

That following Spring we moved to Syracuse, NY and I was 13 weeks pregnant with twins. 
Guess what? That new table? Didn't happen. 
All of our funds were going into preparing for twins and adjusting to me not working. 
And we both were 100% okay with that. I honestly never thought much about it again.

Fast-forward to our most recent move. Josh mentioned to me in the house-hunting phase, "We should probably decide what size table we want to buy so we can be sure it will fit into the spaces we are considering."
I was so excited!
So here it is. The table I have been waiting for! 
It is perfect for us! It seats 10 without the leaves and 14 with- which is enough to fit both of our immediate families. 
Sure we will still have to use other tables if we had 30 people over for dinner but this will be much more accommodating!

It is also our first big forever purchase as a married couple! 
Weird, right? Everything we've had has been given to us or we purchased individually before we got married. 
It only took us 6 years!

Isn't the wood beautiful. Restoration hardware has incredible quality furniture.
Not to mention the white glove delivery. 

Our St. Louis Stay-cation Wrap-up


Last week my parents came to visit us from Georgia.
 It was our annual family vacation time that they insisted we spend at our home since we just moved and have been traveling non-stop. 
Man, do I love them! 
A stay-cation was just what the doctor ordered.
Monday my guy had to go into he office for a few hours so we decided to do some shoe shopping. 

The Zabies were professionally fitted for ballet slippers and regular everyday shoes. 

On the way out of the mall we spotted a play area with lots of rides. 
The girls loved it and Pawpaw was a sucker for "mo" rides!

Every evening the girls played on our new-to-us deck. 

This particular day they practiced blowing bubbles in their water table. 

We finally christened the new table with homemade fajitas. 
More to come on the new table this week!

Tuesday the little ladies had their weekly dance class. 
I cannot get enough of these sweet girls!
Them in tutus is just too much!

Another evening ended on our back deck.
This was the same evening we learned that we have a mama doe and fawn living in our back woods. 

On Wednesday we visited the Gateway to the West!
The pod that takes you to the top is small. 
My Mom and Quinn were a little uneasy as we slowly made our way to the top.

The girls loved looking down at the ground.
They are such little thrill seekers!

You can see Busch Stadium in this photo. 

On Thursday we spent the day at Grant's Farm. 
Grant's Farm is special to us for it's ties to Anheuser-Busch. 
It is one of many free things to do with children (plus parking) in the St. Louis area. 

Meet Rudy. He posed so nicely for us. 
I took no pictures on Friday. 
I had an 8 AM hair appointment with a new gal and no one ever believes me when I tell them to mark off more time because I have lots 'o hair. 
Needless to say, I didn't get home until 1:00. 
Thankfully, I love my color and cut- unlike the first time I had my hair done in CNY! 
We also spent the evening at the pool until the thunderstorm stole our thunder!

Saturday we went to our (everyone except Josh) Cardinals game. 
The girls were trooper to say the least. 
I mean nine innings without the first temper tantrum, fussing, whining, or running away.
They cheered, waved, said "Hey" to everyone they saw, and rocked their Cardinals jerseys like bosses in the 90 degree heat! Mommy, Daddy, Nana and Pawpaw were SO proud!

It was so nice having my parents all to ourselves, 24-7. 
I enjoyed spending time with them but more importantly I enjoyed seeing them bond and make memories with our girls. 
We can't wait to make many more memories and explore our new city more!
Powered by Blogger.
Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan